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Mad Skillz

Posted by on February 19, 2011

I’ve always known Varun was good at math. I’ve always known I’m not. Actually, being told by my grade 12 calculus teacher that she “didn’t know how I got into (her) class” as I wasn’t prepared for it really hammered that point home for me.

That’s why I was born into the era of calculators, credit cards and tip calculators. It’s also why I married an engineer.

Varun studying, me taking pictures (ie, not studying)

Last night at our Date Night Dinner, I mentioned to Varun over nachos that my sister is thinking of enrolling her kids in India Math. For a moment, Varun looked shocked. I think he was thinking, These white people are so racist! I explained that it’s a tutoring program entitled India Math.

Me: Besides, let’s be honest, you are way better at math than me.
Varun: (Looking rather pleased with himself) True. I did know my times tables to 20 by the time I was 5.
Me: Um. Okay. I never learned those. People learn that…? And division, HA!
Varun: Okay, here’s a problem, let’s see if you can do it. No calculator, to two decimals places. 211 divided by 15.
Me: HA! I can’t do it. It’s something like 10. Errr, wait, no…15.
Varun: Here, use this. (He hands me an envelope)

Now, before you judge me, I want you to take out a pen and paper and try it.

Stop reading and do it.

I haven't done long division since grade 4.

Needless to say, I didn’t get very far. (And yes, that is nacho drippings on the envelope.)

Varun takes over, explaining each step to me. Somewhere during the explanation the waitress returned to ask if we wanted more beer. She saw us sitting side by side in the booth pouring over a napkin doing long division. I think she made the executive decision we were done. Back to this division business. The whole thing actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it. In fact, I learned that Indians invented decimal places. Go figure.

Varun came up with the right answer (14.06) quite quickly and then worriedly asked me if I know how to subtract. I was given a problem (bottom left of the napkin) and it turns out I do.

So yes, Sarah, I think India Math is a great idea. With any luck, your kids will know how to do long division sans calculator, or at least be able to tip their waitress without checking their phone.

5 Responses to Mad Skillz

  1. Mindy

    Meels, you guys are awesome. Just saying.

  2. Vicky

    don’t you start learning long division in gr. 3?

    • Amelia

      I think I started and finished learning it in grade 3….never to be used again. We started using calculators in grade 2 or 3….and I’ve never gone back!

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